Sunday, March 18, 2012

Topo.com goes away, takes SuperQuads with it

Late last week I received an email from National Geographic Maps, informing me that their Topo.com website would be discontinued in 30 days, as they transtion to a new partnership with AllTrails.com. The National Geographic Topo desktop software will continue to work, although it is unclear if new updates will be forthcoming or not. This appears to primarily affect Magellan Triton users who have purchased Topo SuperQuads. If that’s you, you should read the info below and save those files to your hard drive over the next few weeks.

I took a quick look at the AllTrails.com site this morning and it’s nice enough, but I didn’t find any .gpx files to download; maybe they are there for some trails or perhaps this is a feature that will be added in the future. The only other thing I’ll note is that topo.com is an awfully good domain to give up (or simply use to redirect to another site).

Here’s the full text of the email I received:

To the TOPO! Explorer User Community:

Last week, National Geographic Maps and AllTrails announced a strategic alliance focused on building the largest and most comprehensive online destination for outdoor enthusiasts with the launch of a co-branded service available at alltrails.com. The co-branded site offers detailed information on thousands of trails with reviews, photographs, and more. Registered users also have the ability to create member profiles and trail journals, contribute content and reviews, and access social media sharing. Since its founding in 2010, AllTrails has built the fastest growing community of outdoor enthusiasts, with more than 200,000 members who access the service through the Web or on their mobile devices.

In the coming months, alltrails.com will offer an expanded, premium subscription service that will provide exclusive online and mobile access to National Geographic’s extensive topographic map assets, including TOPO! and Trails Illustrated maps. In subsequent email communications, special discounted offers for the premium subscription service will be extended to the TOPO! Explorer user community.

Because of the new strategic alliance with AllTrails, the current products and services offered on topo.com will be discontinued. For the next 30 days, topo.com will continue to be functional. After that time, users will be redirected to alltrails.com. During the next 30 days, topo.com members can redeem any unused map credits, provided that they have not already expired. Although the topo.com Web site will no longer exist after 30 days, the desktop application can be used without logging in to the site. Many of the most popular features of the TOPO! Explorer desktop software, such as printing customized maps, drawing routes, and creating elevation profiles, will remain functional without users having to connect to topo.com.It is important that users download all purchased SuperQuads and save the corresponding PDF files to a place on their local drives. Our Technical Support team has provided the following directions to assist you with storing and using your map content with the TOPO! Explorer desktop application:

Downloading Purchased SuperQuads

If you would like to download SuperQuads and store them within the TOPO! Explorer desktop application on your hard drive, please follow the instructions below:

1. First, launch the TOPO! Explorer desktop application and log in to topo.com.
2. Click on the My Purchases tab along the top navigation. The My Purchases page will show your entire purchase history and if you have any unused, not expired, map credits left to redeem.
3. Now, press the Download Now button in the Download SuperQuads box located on the lower right side of the page. This will start the process of downloading all of your SuperQuad map content to be stored on your hard drive, within the TOPO! Explorer desktop application.
Note: If you have already downloaded all of your SuperQuads, clicking on the Download Now button will open up the list of maps in the desktop application, showing the names of the SuperQuads already downloaded and stored within the application.
4. Once a SuperQuad appears in the list on the Maps page under the tab SuperQuads, the content is ready to be used via the desktop application. Each SuperQuad is listed by its name and is followed by the word “downloaded” when stored in the desktop application.

Downloading and Saving PDF Files

If you would like to download and save the PDF files provided for the purchased SuperQuads and store them on your hard drive, please follow the instructions below:

1. First, log in to your account on topo.com.
2. Click on the My Purchases tab along the top navigation.
3. In the center of the My Purchases page, you will see SuperQuads I Own with a corresponding list below it. On the left-hand side of the list, you will see Download PDF and icons for the PDF files for each map below.
4. Click on the PDF icon to start the download. When the download is complete, the five-page PDF file will be open on your screen. Note: Reading PDF files requires installation of Adobe® Reader freeware or Adobe Acrobat® software on your computer.
5. To save the PDF file, click on the disk icon in the upper right of the tool bar and save the file to your desired location on your hard drive.

If you have any questions, please submit them through the Ask a Question section on the technical support Web site. It can be accessed via the following URL:

support.topo.com 

Thank you for your ongoing interest in National Geographic mapping products. We hope to better serve our loyal customers with exciting new products and services offered through the AllTrails alliance.

Sincerely,
National Geographic Maps

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Rich, do you know if this is just the TOPO Explorer apps or does it apply to the Topo! (“classic”) and Trails Illustrated Explorer desktop apps as well? I actually find the Topo! classic and Trails Illustrated applications very useful.

    • Those should still work, but I don’t know if we’ll ever see them updated again. I just emailed a contact at NG, so hopefully I’ll be able to come back with a more informed answer.

      • FWIW, this is what I got back from NatGeo:

        “The National Geographic TOPO! State Series software is still available, however we have begun reducing the titles we reprint to the top 14 most popular titles. The Trails Illustrated Explorer software will continue to be available. Note, customer support and technical support will continue to be available for all National Geographic mapping software products.

        Also, per your article, in regards to your experience on the AllTrails.com site thus far, National Geographic TOPO! map content will become available at AllTrails.com in the coming months as part of a premium subscription service. The Trails Illustrated map content will become available later in the spring. Note, a press release regarding the new AllTrails partnership can be found here: http://alltrails.com/partners/national_geographic.”

  2. The Alltrails website that NG has teamed up with is:
    A: either the worst interface I have ever tried to use.
    or
    B: my computers (tried it on 3 different units) are just not capable of handling it. Not likely

    Then today I get an email saying I can get a “pro” version for the “low” price of $50.00.

    Done with my rant now. Here is what I have experienced on Alltrails.com
    1- Uploading photos takes way too long and process is too cumbersome.
    2- I could not manage to upload tracks.
    3- Could not figure out how to add a new trail review. For example, if a trail does not already exist in the search, I suppose you are out of luck adding your review.

    Sorry, NG I just cant see any value in this product. Definitely not worth $50.00, and probably not worth any more of my time trying to use it for free.

    • I’m not sure when it happened, because initially NG TOPO was a great product, but somewhere along the line they stopped doing needed updates and started making really bad partnership decisions… Magellan Triton, Satmap and now All Trails.

      • I agree, I have a version of the NG TOPO called Southern Appalachians, that I still use. I like the good map detail, consistency with printed versions, and the interface.
        This was, on paper at least a very good idea to make TOPO compatible with a gps unit. The implementation was poorly executed.

        I do not know how many users out there have tried Alltrails, but the interface is clunky at best.

        I would also like to point out that I do not think that MiTac has any association with Alltrails. This is a good thing in my opinion.

  3. Andy Hart says:

    I just want my maps… so far it seems AllTrails is more about more social networking and bragging about how many trails you’ve hiked. I don’t need this, even with my pro membership, I’ve yet to be able to print a map that was really worth anything. I have exported gpx files which were “clunky” to create but worked fine, but I’m a map geek. I don’t think I’ll be renewing my membership when it’t up at this point.

  4. So the current version of TOPO! isn’t compatible with Snow Leopard. Is there any other program to read the State Series Maps (.TPQ) or did my hundreds of dollars investment just go down the trash? Does all trails.com interact with the State Series Maps?

    JT

  5. I just want the maps to view – no need to transfer to my GPS unit. I usually find what I want on the maps and then input those to my GPS unit. All I really want is to be able to view my TOPO! maps in Mountain Lion. I’m guessing there is not program that would let me view those kind if files?

    JT

    • Is this your thread at Groundspeak?…

      http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=300769

      Someone there said it works for them on Mountain Lion. I’m updating in a couple of weeks and will try and remember to check it out, though I tend to use NG Topo on a Windows machine. I’m assuming you don’t have a copy of Windows you can use with Bootcamp.

      • Yes, that is my thread. I wanted to see how it worked before I responded there. I can open the maps and look things over, but the tracks aren’t working. I can live with that for now, but at some point it’s probably going to break. I assume they aren’t updating the windows versions as well? I wonder how it will work with windows8? I love the NG maps, hope at some point there is a program on the Mac that can take full advantage of them. I’ll be curious to hear what you find when you try it on Mountain Lion. As for windows and bootcamp, I could probably partition a drive and just load Lion as NG worked fine on that. But I’m using an SSD drive and disk space is limited. Maybe I should look at an external thunderbolt drive to run Lion?

        Thanks for your time,

        JT

        • Well, I’ve updated and just checked it out. Seems to be working okay, though almost all my files are now .gpx so I don’t have many .tpo files to check out for regions that I own.

  6. A friend of mine bought Alltrails, was having a tuff time with it so asked to me help. I took a look at it, having TOPO! and my first impressions were , wow, what a POS, then after about a half hour of messing with it, I thought, wow, what POS. Sure glad I have TOPO! Alltrails is bacially worthlesss unless you are a casual urban hiker, like to hike a designated trail, and for whatever reason, you need a map to do that. I’m appalled. Well, back to USGS map store, we go.

  7. Dan Walstrom says:

    Used Nat Geo State Series for Alaska for 6 years. Good Topographic maps you can zoom in 5 levels, and magnify. Used the software to print many maps and plot where active gold claims were located. Loved the features. Nat geo discontinued the software in 2012. Did not see it coming. Don’t know what is next. Dan W.

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